Originally published on Frags and Beer on January 23, 2013
[Like the first of these posts, his is a fiction sort of tale, told from the first person perspective of one of my GW2 characters. I thought it would be fun to go back and take screenshot of the first game, and show how those same spots look now. That led to the idea of telling it through the words of one of my characters. So here goes. The screenshots are taken from relatively the same place in each era of the game.]
As I read the journal of my namesake from so long ago, I find references to places that still exist as crumbling ruins and faded monuments to ages past. Despite the destruction of the great dragons and the influx of monstrous tribes in these former human lands, many of these places can be found and explored. I’ve spent a lot of time walking in the footsteps of the Merith of the past and I see what drove her to explore this world of ours.
The statue of Balthazar, the Tyrian God of war and fire, once stood as a landmark between the city of Ascalon and old Duke Baradin’s estate. The monument withstood the devastation of the searing and the influx of monstrous elementals that took over the area after the humans were driven away. In the blasted wasteland of post-searing Ascalon the monument became even more of a landmark, standing high over the sparse landscape. My ancestor mentions this statue many times, as she does other monuments. I believe she had a fondness for art and architecture, something that I seem to have inherited.
I visited the same site, and found the statue mostly intact. The land is now home to tribes of grawl and harpies, but the monument still stands among the craggy hills that make up the walls of the former pass. It remains a landmark as adventurers and pilgrims pass from the Charr’s Black Citadel to the ruins of Ascalon. It’s quite different from the newer statue of Balthazar in Divinity’s Reach, but I think I like the older one better. Even covered in vines and surrounded by dangerous creatures, this ancient statue looks more like a warrior monument than any others I’ve seen.
Another place my namesake was fond of visiting was the ruins of Serenity Temple with its lone statue of the Goddess Melandru, the Patron of Earth and Nature. She speaks of the temple ruins as a quiet place of sanctuary, but also a sad location. Before the searing she did not visit it but mentions that it must have been something to see before the devastation. As it stands now, not much can be discerned by the remaining architecture, but she wrote that the ruins in her day gave evidence of a grand temple among lush forests and rolling hills. In her time, after the searing, the temple was still home to some human merchants and monks. She mentions it as a waystation, of sorts, on the way between Fort Ranik and the Great North Wall.
Visiting the site today is an even more melancholy experience, as the surrounding land is blasted by the passage of the great dragon and the scar it left on the land. The statue of the Nature Goddess remains, and some of the columns, but the walls are long since buried beneath the sands of time. The area is now inhabited by ghosts, spirits of the past who want no part of our world and are hostile to live visitors. Unfortunately this is true of much of old Ascalon today. Looking up at the lonely statue of Melandru, she seems almost sad herself. I wonder if she looked this way in the past or if time and erosion have created a look that reflects the ravages of the land around her.
The last landmark I visited was Grendich Courthouse. In the time of the first Merith it was a popular place of rest on the road between Ascalon City and Yak’s Bend to the north and west. It was once grand, overlooking the village of Grendich, and housing the legal system and government of the area. The people of Grendich must have taken law and order seriously to build such an edifice. By the time the first Merith saw the building it was in shambles, but still defensible against the denizens of the Diessa Lowlands. The village had long since disappeared in the devastation, but some humans held out behind the walls of the courthouse.
Today the ruins of Grendich stand among the ghosts of old Ascalon, another reminder of those who once called this area home. The stairs remain, and the ruins of the outer walls can easily be followed in the hard earth. The front facade and arch that once contained the doors still stand, a testament to the skill and dedication that went into its construction. These old sites are interesting, but in a way, depressing as well. The Charr call this land home, where my ancestors were born and raised, and much of what remains of those past are only spirits and ruins. There are a few more sites I wish to see here east of the Black Citadel, and even that city itself holds many ruins of note, but I long to move west and see where else my namesake tread. I know Lion’s Arch remains, but what of the grand Gates of Kryta, Yak’s Bend, and the Temple of the Ages. I look forward to seeing where the world of today connects to the one I’ve read about from the past.